Few societal advancements can claim that they absolutely shaped the course of mankind like publishing. Since the dawn of time, people have shared information through words and pictures. Technologies we take for granted today were once revolutionary, like the advent of paper, and the recording of information by the ancient Sumerians in 4000 BC which significantly impacted human advancement.
Publishing Preserves the Past
What we consider publishing is, in a broad sense, the written verification of communications, and the deliberate proliferation of that information. Regardless of the type of publication, the goal is to engage the reader in some way. My favorite stories are thousands of years old, and that’s possible because of the publishing industry, as is my career.
The Future of Publishing is Anyone’s Guess, Really
No one really knows what the future of publishing will be like. Based on recent technological advancements, however, digital publishing has become a prolific and often lucrative business. While dire predictions of the doom and destruction of physical publications, or hardcopies, abounded at the beginning of the digital age, they’ve lessened with time.
The market for publishing is a wide and sweeping expanse of areas of expertise. This is partly due to the integrated media market that is prevalent today. It’s handy for consumers to read an article in a newspaper and be able to verify it via multiple sources through digital resources. It also gives virtually anyone the power to self-publish.
The Ballad of Minstrels
Back in the day, the ability to read and write was reserved for elite social classes and specific occupations. The average person was completely illiterate. Enter the Bard. Travelling minstrels memorized entire ballads, histories, and folk tales and recited them for a small fee. Considered nearly sacred beings in many areas, bards who became famous could make a fine living.
Tales of terror, adventure and love were told after the news of the realm was proclaimed. Retellings of mythical or historical heroes, and the villains they battled were always a hit, but a bard had a special talent that few, if any, of the common folk could do. They could read and write. Many a minstrel sang for his supper after taking diction over lunch. This was a form of publishing that bridged the gap between verbal and written sharing of information in pre-telecommunications eras.
Publishing Connects People with Their World
The variety of information we share between ourselves is immense, and as the only species that keeps written records, we have engaged in publishing in some form or another with vigor. The world of publishing has evolved over time, but the goal remains the same.
Whether you realize it or not, the publishing industry affects your daily life in countless ways. We rely on the communication of facts and ideas to better ourselves as individuals and societies. Without this vital resource, mankind would likely not have advanced as we have. Publishing helps us communicate, and it preserves those communications for future generations.